Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Delay and die (or at least lose out)

We hear it every time a hurricane threatens. Warnings are sent out, evacuations are encouraged, then ordered. Still, some die hards refuse* to flee for safety, thinking the storm will miss them, or it won't be strong enough, or they don't want to leave their possessions unguarded. Or maybe they think they have a little more time

So many of them do, sadly, die hard.

Procrastination is the root of so many problems in life. It has also been one of my weaknesses. I tend to put things off, then rush to catch up. I leave for work at the last possible moment, then yell at the traffic and the red stop signals. I start late on a project, then as the deadline looms I get anxious because I'm not progressing fast enough. My car needs to be repaired for inspection, but I put that off despite my wife kindly reminding me that time is running out. Again, she's wise enough to know that it's better not to wait, since a part could be unavailable or it could take longer to fix than originally planned.

Recently, an indicator light came on in my car telling me I need oil. Again, my wife was good enough to remind me to check it out. And yes, that's right, I procrastinated. Mind you, we've had rather extensive and expensive car repairs lately, so if the engine was to seize it would have been disastrous. I finally went to a gas station--and it was closed for repairs. So my tension increased: Will I make it to another station? If my car dies, how much will it cost?

Well thankfully I made it OK, and my car is fine.

But what if...?

Things don't always go as smoothly as planned. In fact, they rarely do. We can't control what's around us, only our own actions. So please learn from my errors; if you have somewhere to be or something to repair. Or if you are in potential danger, hope for the best but plan for the worst. Better to play it too safe than be ashamed and hurt and broke.

I realize that comparing car repairs and potential loss of home and life in a storm is unfair. But at the core, procrastination in one area could certainly lead to procrastination in another. If I'm prone to put things off, then will I be more proactive when greater dangers threaten? Or will I, like so many others, keep thinking the storm will pass, or come later, or weaken...blah, blah, blah!!

*Many people are simply unable to flee due to physical or financial infirmities, or other valid reasons, and I don't mean to group them in with the procrastinators.

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